An Argument for the Abolition of Legal Marriage


Ok, so before you give me an earful in the comments section about what a horrible person I am for suggesting this, please hear – or read – me out. I’m not against marriage; in fact, I’m happily married and hope to stay that way. I was also fortunate enough to be raised by my parents who were – and still are – married. What I’m putting forth here is an argument for abolishing state-sanctioned marriage.

Marriage, as an institution, has been around for a very long time, maybe even the beginning of time, depending on your religious beliefs. It has differences in format and meaning depending on the cultural or religious background, but it has served as a building block of families and societies. Some cultures allow men and women to choose their mates, while others have those choices handled by family or clan elders. In some cases, such as royalty, the unions are determined by needs or customs of the state.

Marriage was around when the United States was first founded, and has been in practice here ever since. However, up until more recently, it was generally handled by the church or other religious body of the couple in question. The government had little to do with marriage as an institution, at least on a federal level. That all changed with the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act of 1923, which provided for government sanction and regulation of marriage. Up until then, there were states that had their own spin on things, like interracial marriage in particular, but if you didn’t like the marriage laws in one state, you were free to move to a different one with laws more to your liking.

Fast forward to today, and you have opposing groups trying to define or redefine marriage to suit their beliefs and enlist the heavy hand of the federal government to do the enforcing. If you’re one of the winners, that’s fine, but on the losing end, you may be facing penalties for not getting in with the program. So, my suggestion is simple: get the government out of marriage altogether.

People of different religious or cultural backgrounds can get married or not, according to the dictates of their own traditions or beliefs. You can add in some limitations, like protections for minors and penalties for marriages that subvert immigration laws, but otherwise let it return to the religious or cultural experience that it was before the government decided to regulate it. Similar to how money could be inherited before 1923, and wills and healthcare powers of attorney can still be designated as a person desires.

As for taxes, the tax code is too complicated anyway, and many times people do not report their marital status if it is more advantageous to file as single. Some immigrant communities recognize a cultural marriage that is not legally recognized, but works in practicality like one, only without the marriage penalties of the tax codes. Taxes can revert to the old form of reporting individual income and paying taxes on it, without all the loopholes and deductions. Any money lost from family deductions can be saved by not having to pay excessive fees for tax preparation every year. Plus, there’s the added benefit of not having to pay for a marriage license, or for ministers to have to be licensed and regulated by the government to perform marriages.

Like I said in the title, this is just an argument for getting the government out of marriage; just something to think about.

* Christine Luc is a mother, chiropractor, and small business owner. When she’s not ranting about government or conspiracy theories, she’s wishing that she was.

Photo: We Are Change

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  1. Very nice, I think you completely nailed it. Another concern that I think your solution would address is the issue of gay marriage. Homosexuals will retain their right to live as they please, and employers with religious convictions that oppose such a lifestyle won’t be forced to fund such unions in the form of health benefits.

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